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Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06

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katlaughing 19 Jul 06 - 03:14 PM
wysiwyg 20 Aug 06 - 11:01 PM
RoyH (Burl) 21 Aug 06 - 06:54 AM
Charley Noble 21 Aug 06 - 08:32 AM
Fred McCormick 21 Aug 06 - 08:57 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Aug 06 - 12:05 PM
katlaughing 21 Aug 06 - 12:51 PM
Fred McCormick 21 Aug 06 - 01:22 PM
nickp 21 Aug 06 - 01:41 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Aug 06 - 01:50 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Aug 06 - 09:23 AM
katlaughing 22 Aug 06 - 10:45 AM
Pauline L 22 Aug 06 - 08:37 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Aug 06 - 11:06 PM
katlaughing 22 Aug 06 - 11:46 PM
Dan Schatz 23 Aug 06 - 12:00 AM
katlaughing 23 Aug 06 - 01:08 AM
CapriUni 23 Aug 06 - 02:12 AM
Charley Noble 23 Aug 06 - 09:16 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 23 Aug 06 - 09:39 AM
katlaughing 23 Aug 06 - 10:11 AM
Fred McCormick 23 Aug 06 - 10:31 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 23 Aug 06 - 10:33 AM
emjay 23 Aug 06 - 06:34 PM
Pauline L 23 Aug 06 - 06:52 PM
Don Firth 23 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,Philippa 08 Sep 06 - 11:12 AM
Don Firth 08 Sep 06 - 01:18 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM
Don Firth 08 Sep 06 - 02:09 PM
Steve-o 08 Sep 06 - 02:14 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Sep 06 - 02:59 PM
Tannywheeler 08 Sep 06 - 03:40 PM
Pauline L 09 Sep 06 - 12:02 AM
Felipa 09 Sep 06 - 08:33 AM
Tannywheeler 09 Sep 06 - 11:57 AM
open mike 04 Sep 08 - 01:14 PM
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Subject: Documentary on Alan Lomax - 22 August 06
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Jul 06 - 03:14 PM

POV (Point of View on PBS) is going to broadcast a docu by Roger Kappers on Alan Lomax. It's listed for 22 August 2006. One may read more about it at POV Preview.

Briefly, the flyer I got says: Alan Lomax was "the song hunter." He devoted his life to recording the world's folk tunes before they would permanently disappear with the rise of the modern music industry. Through interviews including Pete Seeger and archival footage of such greats as Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, filmmaker Roger Kappers tells the story of the man who captured America's quintessential music.

kat


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 11:01 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 06:54 AM

That looks great. Is there any way we in the UK can see or hear this show? Burl.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 08:32 AM

Thanks for the reminder.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 08:57 AM

I made enquiries when PBS did a doc on Woody Guthrie a couple of months ago. The producer's answer was probably not. Basically, the problem seemed to lie with the costs involved in licensing the music abroad. Presumably the same will apply here. A thousand curses.

"That looks great. Is there any way we in the UK can see or hear this show?" Burl.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 12:05 PM

My understanding is that they are working on a DVD release of the Lomax film as well as a CD soundtrack. It may be issued by Rounder Records in the fall.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 12:51 PM

Hey, Susan, thansk for refreshing this. I'd forgotten my own thread!:-)

I can tape it for you, Burl, but does our videocassette format work over there?


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 01:22 PM

Hi Ron,

That's something at any rate. Do you know whether anyone is planning a DVD release of the Wiidy Guthrie documentary ?

My understanding is that they are working on a DVD release of the Lomax film as well as a CD soundtrack. It may be issued by Rounder Records in the fall.
Ron


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: nickp
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 01:41 PM

Kat

American video will play in the UK on most players made in the last 5 years or so. Not the other way round.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 01:50 PM

Not to my knowledge Fred. There is another documentary on Guthrie available - This Machine Kills Fascists and I am not sure the market would warrant another Guthrie title of this sort. They are not "big" sellers.

The rights issues for Guthrie apparently is the bigger problem. A few years ago there was a WONDERFUL concert given at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville honoring Guthrie. An all-star lineup including Arlo, Marty Stuart, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Janis Ian and many others. I had the honor of attending and it was a superb concert.   It was videotaped and plans were underway to have a DVD release, but three years later it still has not been shown.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 09:23 AM

I'm refreshing this thread as a reminder to everyone in the U.S. that the program is airing tonight in most of the country. Check with your local PBS station for times and dates.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 10:45 AM

Thanks, Nickp.

In that case, Burl, I will try to remember to tape it. If you'd like, PM me with your mailing addy and I'll send it on.:-)

kat


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Pauline L
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 08:37 PM

Thanks for posting, katlaughing. I never turn on the TV unless someone, usually someone on Mudcat, tells me that something good is airing.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 11:06 PM

Wow.

I just watched it.   I think I finally "get it".


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 11:46 PM

Just about to come on!


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 12:00 AM

Wow! That was good, though I missed the first ten minutes. Interviews with many folks, including Shirley Collins, Peggy and Pete Seeger, and even our very own KYTRAD! There was also lots of footage of Lomax himself.

I didn't quite understand the random swimming pool scenes, but like I said, i missed the beginning.

I hope they repeat it so I can watch it more completely. Thank you, Kat, for letting us know about this.

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 01:08 AM

You're most welcome, Dan, Pauline, et alia! Wow, indeed!

Dan, at the beginning, the filmmaker spoke of how they visited with Lomax just before he passed away; that he was unable to respond, verbally, due to a brain hemorrhage. They also showed his daughter reading his own words to him, from 40 years ago. I think the swimming pool, etc. were to show how his last few weeks/months of life were and that he was still able to put on the headphones and enjoy/listen to the beauty of his massive work of collecting all of those years.

This was really an incredible, beautiful documentary. Just superb and I LOVED seeing and hearing our own Jean Ritchie, both then and now!

Burl, got it!! It will go in the post as soon as I make a copy of it.

Wonderful, wonderful!

kat


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 02:12 AM

I, too, missed the first 12 or so minutes. But I thoroughly loved the bits I did see. I hope it's repeated soon.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 09:16 AM

This hour program was really just a teaser, a sampling of what Lomax was able to experience and record for the rest of us.

It's interesting that when the inteviewers revisited the villages where the original recordings were made they were usually able to find someone who had powerful memories of the sessions. I'm sure that often there is nothing left behind but the echo of the recoding.

I was particularly amazed at the film footage of the Scottish women singing their work song as they rhythmically reworked the wool.

I was also intrigued by Lomax's efforts to statistically classifiy the songs he collected. His sociological interpretations may be suspect but I bet that sociolinguists today are performing even more sophisticated analysis.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 09:39 AM

"It's interesting that when the inteviewers revisited the villages where the original recordings were made they were usually able to find someone who had powerful memories of the sessions."

I read that they struck out in a number of locations, which the film maker said gave him insight into the frustrations that Lomax felt when he came to a dead end. The body of work that Lomax left us represents thousands of hours of work and searching. Not every visit resulted in songs worth collecting. It really gave us an insight into the fascinating work of the collectors, work that deserves greater recognition and respect. I'm afraid that for the large part contemporary "audiences" take their work for granted.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 10:11 AM

Yes, Charley and Ron!

The Library of Congress fellow noted they had over 10,000 hours of field recordings by the Lomaxes!!

I'd love to see more of Alan's field films as well as his recordings. WOuld also love to see the same kind of docu on our "modern-day" collectors such as the Patons and Dick and Susan.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 10:31 AM

Charley,

I think you're talking about the Cantometrics Experiment which was an attempt to statistically correlate singing styles and social culture. Lomax wrote up his findings in a book called Folk Song Style and Culture, which was published in 1968, and which I think is still in print.

In my view the experiment was less than successful, although I'm inclined to agree with Lomax's overall findings, and I published a critical precis in Musical Traditions magazine about eight or nine years ago(http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/cantomet.htm). Since then, Victor Grauer, the statistician who worked on the experiment, has published a critical response, also in Musical Traditions. Unfortunately, I never got round to replying, which is a pity because his response contained some valid criticisms of my article, and corrected one or two errors I'd made, but there were other areas he commented on which were much more open to debate.

Cheers,

Fred McCormick.

I was also intrigued by Lomax's efforts to statistically classifiy the songs he collected. His sociological interpretations may be suspect but I bet that sociolinguists today are performing even more sophisticated analysis.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 10:33 AM

It was also touching to see Peter Kennedy in the documentary.   The film was actually completed last year and shown in a few international film festivals. I hope Peter got to see it before he passed away. Not having had the pleasure of meeting him, it was a good experience to see him in this documentary and get a feeling of the passion and warmth he shared for the music and folklore.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: emjay
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 06:34 PM

I wonder how many of the songs we know and love now would have been lost if not for the work of John and Alan Lomax. I refer to my Lomax books now and have frequently in the more than 50 years since I bought the first one. Many very familar songs are in the various Lomax collections, and many of them are usually sung almost as Lomax recorded them.
That program was wonderful. If only it could have been hours longer or maybe one in a weekly series of Lomax shows. All those hours of Library of Congress recordings to he heard!
Even though I taped the show, I will gladly buy a cd and a dvd if those are released.
MJ


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Pauline L
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 06:52 PM

I, too, missed the first 10 minutes or so of the show. (I use my TV so infrequently that i forgot how it works.) I read about the show on pbs.org later, and it answers a lot of the questions and discusses a lot of the points raised in this thread. Re Lomax's quantitative analysis of songs: I've been reading recent articles in scientific journals about the Mozart Effect, and some of them are less sophisticated quantitatively than Lomax's work.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM

It comes on tomorrow night (Thursday, 10:00 p.m.) on KCTS, my local PBS affiliate.

I planned on taping it, but last night a videotape jammed in our VCR and we can't get the #%$@&#!*! thing out!! GREAT timing!! Gonna hafta go into the shop, apparently. It's a DVD/VCR combination, but I can't even burn a DVD of the telecast because, for some strange reason, with the tape stuck in there, if I turn the thing on, it turns itself off after about ten seconds. I suppose it some sort of safety lock-out.

I'm going to see if I can get a friend or neighbor to tape it for me. (mutter mutter!)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 11:12 AM

a reminder about the website: http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2006/lomax/talking.html


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 01:18 PM

I knew that one of my guitar students has a VCR because I taped a couple of television programs for her when she went on vacation, so I asked her if she could tape the show and she agreed. Also, katlaughing, bless her heart, spotted my above post and offered to send me a copy if all else failed. In the meantime, when I moaned to my wife, Barbara, that local repair shops usually charge a $90.00 bench fee (just to put something on the workbench before even looking at it), she muttered something incomprehensible, disconnected the VCR and took it out to the kitchen table, examined it a bit, selected the appropriate sized screwdrivers, removed the cover, deftly performed a tape-ectomy on the jammed tape, and reassembled the machine. I ran a few tests and it was fine. So I got a good tape of the show, and my student, Bernice, also got it. I was nicely covered.

I have to admit to being a bit disappointed in the show, but then I was expecting a whole lot more than they put together. An hour just wasn't enough time to do justice to the subject. It would really take something like the kind of min-series' that Martin Scorsese or Ken Burns do to give an idea of just how important Alan Lomax was to folk music and to music in general. I know that a lot of Mudcatters bitch and complain about the things Scorsese and Burns have done in relation to music, but these are usually minuscule, nit-picky squawks compared to how well they cover subjects like this.

It was a good documentary as far as it went, but considering the magnitude of the subject, it was little more than an appetizer.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM

Don - this really was meant to be a documentary about his work, not his life. Using that as the perspective, I think it was a tremendous success and offered much more than I expected.   A documentary on his life would not have bothered retracing his steps, but this particular documentary did exactly that in an attempt to show the importance of his work.   It was not meant to be a biography, but rather a study of his work and the relevance.

I do agree with you, I would love to see a real biographic approach to his life. There were so many facets that could not be covered because of the approach the filmmaker used.   Fascinating man.

Also - be careful with that VCR! Usually if a tape gets stuck it is an indication that something may have damaged the tape path. It could be that tape shedding, or something sticky, entered onto a tape you played. Simply removing the tape may not be enough - or, you might be lucky.   I would just be very careful about putting in a tape that is valuable to you because it might happen again.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 02:09 PM

Yeah, I know, Ron, that it wasn't intended to be a biography and it was good as far as it went, but I felt that it skipped over an awful lot. Time limitations, of course. I do wish someone would do something like a mini-series on Lomax, or the whole family, for that matter. I also wish for World Peace. . . .

Thanks for the warning about possible damage to the tape path. I'll keep an eye on it. It's a DVD/VCR combo (capable of recording both tapes and DVDs, two-way dubbing, all that) that's practically brand new. We got it just a couple of months ago and we haven't used it all that much. I'm still trying to decode the manual.

The tape that jammed was one from the Seattle Public Library, and I'm always a bit leery of playing tapes like that. Barbara said that she checked the heads and everything else she could see pretty thoroughly and it looked clean, and it's worked okay since then, but maybe we'll take another look, just in case. Anyway, thanks.

Don Firth,


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Steve-o
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 02:14 PM

It certainly was just a teaser, and if it was meant to be a study only of his work, on that count it was also hugely lacking in scope. I was quite disappointed; this is a man whose life and work deserves a great documentary. Why would they even try to do justice to the man's work in an hour's show?


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 02:59 PM

Well, I'm not the filmmaker so it isn't right for me to say what he was thinking, but the "point of view" of the documentary as I saw it was to show the importance of his work and what Lomax was dealing with - and attempting to show the impact he had by todays world. Again, I think it was most successful in accomplishing those goals.

No documentary would be successful if it went into all the minutae and tried to cover every aspect.    If you go to an all you can eat buffet and try to sample all 152 items on the menu, you will quickly become sick. To have an enjoyable experience you try to get a taste of the most appealing samples to please your taste buds and walk away with an enjoyable experience. Perhaps you will come back and sample something else another time.   Take painting for example. What was going on around the Mona Lisa?   Would you like to know what she was smiling at? What was happening to her immediate left or right? What kind of shoes was she wearing? If Da Vinci tried to incorporate all those items, the painting would not have been as effective - although we might have learned much more about the model.

A film maker is trying to tell a story. Their canvas is limited and they have to get their points across.   They realize that you cannot do justice to a man's work in a one hour time frame.   The goal is to tell a good story that will hold an audiences attention and give them something to think about.    In the case of the Lomax documentary, the film maker gave us enough information about his background to keep us curious and then told his story about the search for songs and used a few specific locales as examples.

I know that often I will look forward to a documentary or film concerning a book or subject that I have some knowledge about and I will also complain about what the director "missed". That is the "fanboy" in all of us. But I always try to determine what the directors perspective was and what goal they were trying to accomplish. If it is clear, then I judge them on that basis.

Believe me, I do understand that the documentary would not appeal to everyone - and I am not trying to change anyones mind. I am just giving my thoughts about the work of the film maker.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 03:40 PM

The base of the program was ONE of his trips through Europe--just ONE. The man who made the film said he was retracing a particular collecting trip Alan made. He referenced some of the same sources, included clips of interviews of Alan being interviewed under various circumstances, and a gentle look at the man recovering from serious stroke(and his beautiful daughter, the strong and loving Anna). The filmmaker was able to give examples of proof of Alan's understanding of life and culture, and show where some of his philosophy of life came from. That's a lot from a thumbnail sketch, sort of. It might take an army to retrace most of the trips Alan took, and get a larger picture--an army and quite a long time. Lucky to have this look at the work.             Tw


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Pauline L
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 12:02 AM

I agree with Ron Olesko and Tannywheeler. A one hour film can not be comprehensive. The filmmaker selected the right material and presented it in the right way to give an understanding of Lomax's goals, methods, and results and, equally important, the joy of his work. I understand and appreciate Lomax's work a lot more for having seen the film, and that's a testament to the quality of the film.


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Felipa
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 08:33 AM

for those of you who want MORE, you really will find a great deal at the programme website http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2006/lomax/talking.html


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 11:57 AM

Felipa, thanks for the link. Good stuff.          Tw


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Subject: RE: Documentary on Alan Lomax - PBS, 22 August 06
From: open mike
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 01:14 PM

did anyone manage to record this on VHS or DVD?
I happened upon the last part and have no recorder
connected for the 3 a.m. show ... let me know at
veraloe at gotsky dot com. thanks!

don't know how i managed to miss this 2 years ago
the PBS must be showing this now as part of their
pledge drive.


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